IN 2022/23, the number of workers reporting work-related stress was approximately 875,000.

This constitutes over 40 per cent of all work-related illness and accounts for almost one in five reasons patients consult with their GP.

The main causes for work stress include a high work pressure and a lack of control over workload, long hours, tight deadlines, changes within organisations and job restructuring with a lack of clarity over responsibilities, job insecurity, difficult relationships with colleagues and poor teamwork, feeling bored and undervalued, a lack of support from managers, discrimination and work-related bullying or harassment.

Signs and symptoms of work-related stress include changes in your thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

Common emotional changes include feeling withdrawn, demotivated, a loss of self-confidence and being more sensitive or aggressive.

Such emotions can adversely affect your thinking leading you to catastrophise over worst-case scenarios and jumping to conclusions without considering the facts, making problems bigger than they actually are, and holding yourself responsible for poor outcomes.

This ultimately affects your behaviour leading to avoiding certain tasks, working back late and not taking annual leave and phoning in sick.

If these symptoms and signs go unrecognised and untreated they can lead to burnout.

Job burnout is a type of stress linked to work.

It includes being worn out physically or emotionally. Job burnout also may involve feeling useless, powerless and lacking sympathy and empathy.

Managing work stress is very important.

Find out what you find stressful and work out what’s within your control to change and what’s not.

Learn how to deal with stress in the moment which may involve practicing mindfulness, meditation and taking slow deep breaths. Talk to someone you trust — speaking to your manager or a colleague gives them a chance to support you.

Focus on developing your resilience by looking for practical solutions to solve problems — if you can respond, adapt and behave in healthy ways, you will be better able to deal with challenging situations.

Try to view things differently — making an effort to change the way you see an issue will help ease some of the pressure you feel.

A shift in mindset can also help if you’re having issues with relationships at work.

It can help to remember that you never know what other people are dealing with and approaching everyone with kindness goes a long way.

Ensuring you set professional boundaries and switch off when you finish work is very important.

Your GP can support you in dealing with work stress.

If necessary your GP can issue a fit note that signs you off work for a specified period of time enabling you to prioritise your mental health rehabilitation.

Alternatively, your GP can issue you with a “may be fit to work note” recommending that your employer offers a lighter workload, amended duties, a phased-return to work or reduced hours if that will support and augment your mental health rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, some employers are not reasonable or fair and I would urge all patients to join a trade union for expert professional representation, including access to a solicitor.

Your employer will take your concerns a lot more seriously and treat you fairly if you are professionally represented.

Our columnist Dr Jason Seewoodhary is a former Worcester GP.